Brainspotting (BSP) is a form of evidence-based therapy developed in 2003 by David Grand, Ph.D., through his work with trauma patients. His background was in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), somatic experiencing, and relational and insight-oriented therapy. Since then, he has done research on Brainspotting as a technique that uses eye positions to identify and process trauma stored in the subcortical brain. Below, we discuss what Brainspotting is, what to expect, and how it can help.
What Is Brainspotting?
Brainspotting is considered an advancement in EMDR that links eye positions to unconscious emotional events. Unlike EMDR, with Brainspotting, you don’t “relive” trauma to process and heal. Instead, it involves focusing your eyes on specific points while a therapist helps you identify, process, and release trauma stored in your body. It has been shown to be effective, regardless of whether the memories are deep within the subconscious.
What to Expect
Compared to EMDR, Brainspotting is a more fluid form of therapy. Like most therapist-client relationships, your provider will first build a safe space of trust and respect. Some therapists will use relaxation techniques in sessions before diving into Brainspotting to help prepare for future sessions.
Once you are ready for Brainspotting, your therapist will ask you to identify the place in your body where you feel the most distress in connection with your trauma. They will then help you find your “brain spot” where your eyes intrinsically focus when the physical affliction is strongest. Your therapist will use a pointer rod or finger to help you focus.
Your therapist will either use the “Outside Window” or “Inside Window” approach. With the Outside Window approach, they help you find a spot to focus on; with the Inside Window approach, you choose the location. At this point, your therapist will encourage you to experience the feelings that arise to help you process your trauma. At the end of each session, your therapist may take some time to discuss your experience and thoughts. It is not uncommon to feel emotionally drained. This sometimes may manifest in tingling, exhaustion, or dizziness. It is part of the process that decreases as you heal!
Have you tried Brainspotting? Share your experience with us in the comments below.